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  • #16

    Spiney Norman writes:

    "We appoint our patrol leaders."

    So do ALL of the Scout Troops in ALL of the countries that use Baden-Powell's Patrol System.

    The difference is that in the Patrol System, the Scoutmaster meets with the Patrol first to discuss the possibilities, and/or consults the PLC before making the official appointment. See Rule 240:

    http://inquiry.net/traditional/por/groups.htm

    The question should be: "To what end?"

    In most "modern" BSA Troops, "Boy Led" means the adults give the Scouts a free hand in six month popularity contests to "learn about democracy," but keep a tight "controlled failure" leash on campouts so that a Troop of teenagers camp close together like Cub Scouts in campsites the size of an end zone.

    Baden-Powell camps Patrols a football field apart.

    In Baden-Powell's Scouting, "Boy Led" means Patrol Leaders hike their Patrols about eight miles once a month without adult supervision, and camp about 300 feet from the nearest Patrol.

    Spiney Norman writes:

    "This happens after they have been through our Troop's TLT course and they have served as an assistant patrol leader or den chief. Their tenure usually runs any where from 9 mos to a year or even two years sometimes."

    Two year tenures are impressive in "21st century Scouting," where the standard is more like the six month POR ghost town PLC that "horanmm" describes.

    Before you give into adult peer pressure, why not act on the courage of your convictions, and put all that Patrol Leader talent and tenure to use?

    Space your best Patrols Baden-Powell's minimum standard of 300 feet apart, and try some ad hoc backpacking Patrol adventures, where your most mature Patrol Leaders & Scouts hike all day without adults, and meet up with the rest of the Troop in the evening.

    Let us know how long your "Troop Malaise" lasts if you encourage your best Patrol Leaders to use Baden-Powell's Patrol System.

    Yours at 300 feet,

    Kudu
    http://kudu.net/patrol/index.htm

    Comment


    • #17
      Spiney Norman -- If you're looking for a good 3-day river trip as a practice for Boundary Waters (and to get the kids excited about paddling trips), Namekagon River in northern WI is a great paddle. You can do a nice stretch in a long 3-day weekend. PM me if want more specifics.

      As someone else mentioned, Kickapoo River is also a good one, with campsites on the river, and Wildcat Mtn. State Park (WI) right nearby. they have good group sites.(This message has been edited by AnniePoo)

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      • #18
        As for this discussion of our scouts not being ready for BWCA, that is not at issue. We do plenty of canoeing in the troop and prep work towards all of our HA trips. I do appreciate the suggestions for canoe trips, they both sound like lots of fun.
        I have been trying to work towards having more and more mini-HA adventures. We did just do a two trip through the Kettle Moraine South unit in late September. Quite a good trip that we had planned and shook down for before hand.

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        • #19
          I can't beleive I'm reading that 50 or 60% of the boys participating in activities is acceptable. To me that's failure.

          Our participation is 90% for most meetings at activities. The missing 10% are parents....opps I ment kids that are in it for eagle. How you ask? First, fun is put ahead of anything else. If we keep it about fun then the boys want to be there. Then we threw the whole boy led book in the trash and do what works for our boys. That being said, we are a boy DRIVEN troop but the boys tell the adults how boy led they want to be and we hold them to the standard they set for themselves. The boys decide on the uniform policy. Our Class A's aren't worn a whole lot. We think of them as Sunday clothes. We allow electronics as long as they aren't a distraction and encourage them to be used as tools and not toys. The boys plan the activity calender and the adults execute the planning with the boys being our support staff. The adults tend to influence what gets planned for troop/patrol meetings the boys execute the plan with adults as support staff. We generally don't have more than two troop meetings a month and those are sometimes "day-trip" type of meetings. We camp every month but we generally don't camp for the sole purpose of sleeping in a tent and cooking on a fire. Our camping trips usually have a specific activity associoated with them. Camping is just where we sleep for the trip. The activity is the carrot that gets them outdoors.

          Like it or not, kids today are not the same kids they were back in 1925, 1975, 2005 or even 2010. If we don't make adjustments, think outside the box and stay ahead of the curve, membership in the BSA will continue the nose dive. National will never keep up with the times so it's up to the individual units to do whatever is required to keep OUR program strong. Forcing tradition on teenagers is not the answer. How many kids in your unit can't wait to to that skit or song at the next camporee but are forcing them to do it anyway because "that's what we've always done.

          Comment


          • #20
            GO: Our participation is 90% ... two troop meetings a month

            So, if we were to take averages to compare apples to oranges, your troop's weekly attendance is around 45%!

            Ken, I hope that makes you feel a little better!

            GO's program sounds a little bit more like a venturing crew with enough adult management to include jr. high boys. Not what I want for my kid (church youth group already does that), but whatever. Call me a throwback brainwashed by all those old GBB articles in Boy's Life.

            He does make a good point, however. Sometimes we set very high goals and are upset that we don't meet them. A 20% achievement in your very ambitious goal may be similar to an 80% achievement of my modest goal.

            Comment


            • #21
              qwazse: You make a valid point. Why do we expect adult quality program when it's run by future boy leaders? Cut them some slack and get in there and help them with their opportunities rather than judging them against adult standards.

              Too often we approach this whole like a bunch of PHD professors who expect their college freshman students to perform at their level. Well, it doesn't happen in the real world, nor does it in scouting. The reason we are there is to help the boys grow and mature, and that takes time.

              I see plenty of adult micro-managed troops that put out a ton of good programing, but is that what the program is all about?

              Stosh

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              • #22
                Have you considered dismissing your Troop meeting early and have the PL stay behind for a PLC? Remember parents are part of your success. Parents drive the kids here and there. The parents attitude of whether a PLC is important can rub off on the Scout. Make less work for the parent by combining things to happen on the Troop meeting day and you just might see your PLC become well attended. Also consider whether all the PL have the skills. They may opt out of PLC because of intimidation. Do you have handy guides for the non-knowledgeable PL and his parent? I know of a Troop that put together an outdoor packet that helps plan a troop/Patrol campout.

                Troop meetings during a week day is easy to fit in over a weekend campout. Weekend campouts compete with a family schedule. also consider the factor of where the Scout is. Don't you see more T-2-1 class scouts attending the campouts over the Star, Life and Eagle scout because campouts is where those sign off happens. The older scouts have school activities competition that younger scouts don't have.

                "Summer camp is well attended and has been for as long as I can remember with upwards of 90% of the scouts attending." Easy for parents to plan if it happens annually especially those budget restricted Scouts.

                "However, response to the high adventure trips, which is selected by the PLC every year has been disappointing with only 4 of 22 eligible scouts signing up for a week in the boundary waters. This happened a couple of years ago too." How come you are only targeting 22 eligible instead of the ENTIRE Troop? Do consider that high adventure cost more so harder on those budget conscious members. Do you utilize payment plans? Do you plan next years during this years? Want about the scout's supplies? Are Scout account fully utilized to incorporate their spending to have their own supplies/gear for a high adventure trip? Do you educate parents along with the scouts on high adventure gear or even do a Troop group discount to get high adventure gear for all? I think success of high adventure trips is all in the planning, educating and prep work of making sure the scouts have the supplies they need while helping parents have the funds they need. I don't think it has anything to do with the scout skills but rather them having their OWN equipment they need. Scouting parenting class on equipment and funds are great to have during a Troop meeting... *winka

                Comment


                • #23
                  DS, I think 22 boys are in the appropriate age window for the trip.

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                  • #24
                    High Adventure activities are NOT for all the boys in the troop. Most venues have age restrictions (usually 13 and up). We restrict our HA activities to high school youth. It serves as an incentive to stay active in the troop and gives the young ones something to look forward to. Besides, the majority of 11-12-13 year olds cannot handle such activities, even with adequate training. It's just a physical thing.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      eagle90: what about the 12 year old that goes on to play defensive lineman for a Big 10 school? Heck, he could do more physical stuff at that age than most adults!

                      Every boy needs the same opportunities. Yes, use high adventure for the older boys, but if the younger boys want in and they can handle it, they should be treated the same. While not many boys fall into this category, I know 14+ boys that can't handle high adventure so simply stating an arbitrary age is quite prejudicial.

                      If the Webelos cross-overs want to do a 5 mile hike to get to camporee, they should be given the chance with all possibility of success. It's a learning process, they need the chance to try it out and see what they can do.

                      There were plenty of times the boys surprised me with what they were able to do that I would have bet good money against it and would have lost!

                      Stosh

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        eagle90: what about the 12 year old that goes on to play defensive lineman for a Big 10 school? Heck, he could do more physical stuff at that age than most adults!

                        Every boy needs the same opportunities. Yes, use high adventure for the older boys, but if the younger boys want in and they can handle it, they should be treated the same. While not many boys fall into this category, I know 14+ boys that can't handle high adventure so simply stating an arbitrary age is quite prejudicial.

                        If the Webelos cross-overs want to do a 5 mile hike to get to camporee, they should be given the chance with all possibility of success. It's a learning process, they need the chance to try it out and see what they can do.

                        There were plenty of times the boys surprised me with what they were able to do that I would have bet good money against it and would have lost!

                        Stosh

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                        • #27
                          DS, PLC meetings are well attended and fully supported by the parents of the scouts on them. We purposely hold them on an off meeting night to devote them the time they deserve. PLC meetings are very open and could even be said to collegial. At presen this is not our problem.

                          Stosh, I see your reasoning as far as High Adventure goes for allowing those scouts who could "handle: it to go along. Unfortunately, parents sometimes think that that their scout is capable of more than they are and we very well could end up with several scouts along on a trip that is well beyond their capabilities. Hence the setting of an arbitrary bar for the trips. additionally we do vet the scouts as to their capabilities and stress the need to be ready. On our last HA to the Apostle Islands we stressed in no uncertain terms that all scouts and scouters attending must exhibit strong swimming skills. I's rather leave a scout at home bring him home early or not at all.

                          I do appreciate all the sage advice here and continue to read and reread these comments as i plan to sit down with parents, MC's later this week to discuss this.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Spiney, With boy-led, each boy needs to be challenged to his own personal envelops of development. Sure, some boys will succeed, others won't. That's the beauty of the process. Over the years I have learned more from my failures than my successes. While on the Philmont trek, one of the boys was way in over his head but met all the criteria for the trip. While this was a problem, other boys in the crew stepped up and showed some extraordinary servant leadership to help this boy make it through to the end. What was one boy's failure, was other boys' successes. It kinda all balances itself out in the long run.

                            My "motto" was, "I can't make choices for you, I can only make opportunities...." It's important for each boy to learn at his own speed what his limits really are. I guess I'm not ready to impose limits on what that boy just might be able to do. Like I said, I have been surprised many times when I didn't think it would work out but it did.

                            You know you have reached success when you hear one of the boys get up in the morning and go to his PL and say, "I'm not on the duty roster this morning, but what can I do to help." I had to pick my jaw up off the ground on that one.

                            Stosh

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